Editorials, Opinion

The Good, the Bad and the Stupid 5

Good: SB 216, requiring all schools to instruct students on Holocaust, other genocides and financial literacy. This bill has passed the Senate and is being reviewed by the House Education Committee.

We give two thumbs up for the requirement to teach financial literacy. Not everyone needs to know pre-calculus, but everyone should be able to balance a budget and understand how debt and taxes work.

But back to genocide: Unfortunately, Holocaust denial is a real thing. It’s important our young people know what the Holocaust was and understand the myriad factors that led to millions of Jewish, Black, disabled and gay people being systematically imprisoned and slaughtered in the name of making racial and ethnic “purity” a reality.

We appreciate that the bill instructs schools to teach about other genocides as well. There have been many mass slayings and ethnic cleansings across the globe, some even more recently than Holocaust, including in Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1992 (where Serbs targeted the Bosnian Muslim minority, murdering 200,000) and in Rwanda in 1994 (where the Hutu  spent 100 days seeking out and killing members of the Tutsi ethnic minority).

Here is our concern: Will teachers also be instructed to teach about American genocide? Or will that run afoul of the various “divisive concepts” prohibitions also making their way through the Legislature? The Genocide Education Project includes the Transatlantic Slave Trade and the U.S. treatment of Native Americans on its list of modern genocides. As important as it is for students to learn about genocide abroad, it’s more important they learn the same atrocities can and have happened here in America, so hopefully, as our future leaders, they can prevent it from happening again.

Bad: SB 584, to eliminate the incest and rape exceptions to West Virginia’s abortion law.

It was bad enough when the Legislature decided last year to implement one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the country, only allowing exceptions for rape and incest if the patient filed a criminal complaint. Now, the Legislature wants to take away even that.

Every time we think our legislators can’t get any more callous or cruel, they manage to surprise us.

If this one passes, be prepared for substance abuse, suicides and overdose deaths to skyrocket among child-bearing individuals. Also prepare for a massive mental health crisis and increases in domestic violence reports as women are forced to maintain a connection to their abuser. And don’t be shocked if child abuse or/and negligence cases surge, with a subsequent influx of children into the foster care system.

Stupid: SB 619, “Teachers in public schools, including public charter schools, that include any one or more of grades Kindergarten through 12, may teach intelligent design as a theory of how the universe and/or humanity came to exist.”

“Intelligent design,” for those hearing the term for the first time, is the latest iteration of creationism, though its proponents will try hard to convince you it’s not. Intelligent design “holds that certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection,” as per IntelligentDesign.org.

What is this “intelligent cause”? They refuse to say, though they try to assure critics that they don’t necessarily mean God or a supernatural force. But just because “design theorists” refuse to give a name to this higher power doesn’t mean people teaching it will do the same. This opens the door for religion-based myths masquerading as “science” to infiltrate our classrooms.